Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Bill Mauldin is the subject of this short Army Broadcasting bio piece. SPC Andrew Vidakovicn reports for "Soldiers Update." It runs about 2 minutes.
The good thing here is that its mentioned that Mauldin's cartoons, while popular with the soldiers, were not highly thought of by the brass. Enough people in high places thought enough of his Willie and Joe characters that he was able to continue to get published during his five years in the army. They became so iconic, that Willie was on the cover of Time Magazine in June, 1945.
And, yes, when he got the Pulitzer at the age of 23 he was the youngest recipient to date. But it's also worth noting that when he got the news, he was so new to the newspaper business that had to ask what a Pulitzer was. He would win a second one in 1959.
There are a lot of stories in his excellent autobiography THE BRASS RING, but my favorite is how he had to smear his pen against a stamp pad in able to draw a cartoon during an ink shortage. Now that shows determination!
In 2002, Mr. Maudin was declining, and it was my honor, as the National Cartoonists Society Berndt Toast Gang chair, to prepare a large "Get Well Soon, Bill Mauldin" board, full of original cartoon sketches and signatures of the members. It was mailed to his bedside in Newport Beach, CA.
After he died on January 22, 2003, one of his sons told me that the family was so touched and that they loved the oversized greeting we had sent. (It was about 2' x 4.') They had somehow (Tacks? Glue? I don't know.) adhered the Berndt Toast Gang's board on his ceiling, so it would be the first thing that Bill saw in the morning.
He was honored with a US postage stamp in 2010.
My thanks to my dad who put the book THE BRASS RING in my hand when I was eleven years old.
Posted by Mike Lynch at 8:52 AM